The recent Target hack has many people worried about the safety of using credit cards for shopping both online and in stores. If hackers are able to penetrate strong security systems such as those used by chain stores, what else are they capable of? The Target security breach leaked the credit card numbers and personal information of millions of customers. What the hackers intend to do with this information is unknown, but they will likely sell it.
If you have been a victim of the Target attack, a similar attack or are just nervous and want some protection, you should consider using one of the various free credit monitoring services available. Credit monitoring hasn't always been free and usually requires a monthly payment for the service. While this monthly fee isn't necessarily expensive, it still stops many people from getting credit monitoring services and makes them more vulnerable to identity theft.
One of the companies behind the idea to offer free credit monitoring is the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). They recently launched a program called Sharpen Your Financial Focus. The program comes with a 12-month membership to Experian's freecreditscore.com and of course free credit monitoring.
The sooner you realize your identity has been stolen, the more likely you are to get back the money taken or charges made on your account. Credit monitoring can notify consumers as soon as a charge is made.
Consumers need to be aware of unauthorized credit activity, and one way to effectively accomplish that is through credit monitoring. It's hard to put a price on financial peace of mind, but since the freecreditscore.com product is offered at no charge, consumers are without an excuse if they don't take advantage of this opportunity to protect areas of financial vulnerability," said Katy Hudson, President/CEO of CCCS.
Other credit counseling services are likely to partner with Experian and other credit monitoring services to offer the same type of deal in the near future. As security attacks and breaches become more common, anyone shopping online will need to have some type of credit monitoring service to protect them against unauthorized charges and identity theft.
What do you think of the new free credit monitoring service?
Image via Wikimedia Commons.